Mountain air / Pollution

August 20th, 2012 → 12:49 am @

Mountain Air. Smoke pollution.

Having been in the lower Snowy Mountains, 2 years running, during the winter months, I appreciated the clean fresh air most of the time, even though I was very cold

There were times when I suffered from congested breathing and at first I could not work it out, although it soon came to me, when I was staying close to a bloke, who had a slow combustion stove in the kitchen.

I asked him one day what the smell was he created in the air and he told me that he used empty milk and fruit juice containers to start his fire.

The trouble is that these cartons are a composition of plastic, aluminium, glues and waxes as well as cardboard, so many things that should not be burned in a stove. You can compare them with incinerators people had in their back yard years ago and burned about everything they wanted to get rid of.

These incinerators burned grass cuttings, freshly fallen leaves and all sorts of smelly things like plastic. They smouldered for hours if not days, leaving the whole district in a haze of smoke and goodness what ever toxic chemicals.

These incinerators have been banned for years and it has improved the air quality, especially in the big cities, where there were so many of them.

The area where I was staying in the Snowy Mountains, had no planes flying overhead either, so that pleased me a lot. A few months before I came here, I was in a place were the vapour trails were in the sky all day, going in all directions. That worried me, mainly for the people who permanently live there.

Anyway, there is another thing about these cold mountain places. The locals have a fire burning 24 hours a day, to keep warm. Burning wood at high temperature is quite clean, as it burns all the chemicals too; as I said, this is if you have the fire going at full blast, but you would use up a large amount of fire wood, so these good people turn the stoves down to a gentle burn. However, that doesn’t burn the wood completely and quickly, which would burn a lot of the chemicals in the smoke as well.

One day my friends were burning some tree cuttings, dry ones and fresh as well and it burned almost without smoke, because it was so hot. That is the correct way to burn, but for a stove almost impossible to achieve.

Some of the newer models of combustion stoves are a lot better and burn almost completely all the wood and smoke related chemicals from the wood, so the air is kept fairly clean.

This smoke laden air affected my breathing a lot and I had to protect myself from that, the best way I could, something that was not always easy, as the breeze carried this polluted air towards my caravan (of course). You know what it is like when you sit around a campfire. The smoke always comes to you, doesn’t it?

Especially at night, when the air was almost still, it was difficult to breathe at times.

So, what are we going to do, to correct this problem? Well, I for one, am moving to Queensland soon and spend time in the warmer weather again, where there are only a few stoves burning and somewhere I should have been this winter, but with more projects on my plate, I could not escape the Snowy Mountains, as my publisher lives there. Due to my caravan being destroyed by a hail storm, I was late getting there, but I should have been there earlier.

What the locals can do about it is not easy to solve and I cannot help there. You can’t wear more clothes during the day, you will fall over from the weight.

Good luck guys and I hope that you find the right winds to blow the pollution away. (To the neighbours.)

As always, my best wishes and love, Shanti


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